A good friend of mine, Alannah, asked her friends recently to post a message on their FB page about how much their Moms mean to them.  I told her I’d wait until Mother’s Day – then I’d blog about my Mom.   So, today’s the day and here are my thoughts.

Thank you, Mom, for being a wonderful and loving Mom.   I’ve always admired your strength, love and determination to be a terrific wife and mother.  I know it was not easy for you to move to the US shortly after marrying Dad in Tokyo.  You spoke little English and you were all of a sudden in a big, foreign country.  But, you took English classes immediately upon arriving in the Washington, DC area.

It worked out well that we ended up living back in Japan for 13 of my first 16 years.  So, we got to spend lots of time with your Mom, brothers, sister and other family members.  We also made friendships in Camp Zama that have become life-long friendships.  The Guthries are a special family to the Lynns … we’ve shared so much over the years … and I feel like our families are intertwined.

I also recall when you started working at Springfield Mall when we moved back to the DC area during my high school years.  I remember at times you’d come home from working at Garfinckel’s … and you’d cry because some ignorant person made fun of you or said they couldn’t understand your English.  Yet, you worked hard and become a top salesperson and garnered awards at Garfinckel’s.  That filled me with pride.  Then, you went to work for Michael Round China — where you also excelled and many wonderful friendships.

I also have great memories of the friends that you and Dad made in the Northern Virginia area — especially the ones you and Dad would go ballroom dancing with every weekend.   And, of course, I’ve always liked your numerous Japanese friends.  Such wonderful people.

Then, 10 years ago you got a mysterious lung illness after participating in the 2001 Presidential Inauguration Parade as part of a Japanese / Hawaiian dance team.  You were admitted to Ft Belvoir Hospital (where, ironically, I was born) in Feb ’01.  Then, they couldn’t properly diagnose the illness so you were transferred to Walter Reed Hospital.  You bravely and courageously survived over 30 days in the Intensive Care Unit.  You had that awful tube down your throat … and you lost so much weight … yet you battled and battled.  I was there at the hospital every day to encourage you to fight the battle.  You left the hospital weighing about 66 pounds … but you rehabbed hard over the next few months.  And, as the pulmonologist said you’re “the miracle lady” since you made such a great recovery from your lung illness.  We are blessed and fortunate.

Then, in 2007 and early 2008, you showed how remarkable you really are by so dutifully taking care of Dad as his dementia and Alzheimer’s worsened.  Here you are … weighing in the 90’s … taking care of a man that weighed over 200 pounds.  Yet, you never wavered.  You were there for him 24 x 7.  Peter and I were both amazed at the love and care you displayed.  We know you were exhausted yet you continued to show such loving care of Dad.  I will never, ever forget your strength and love.

Dad sadly passed in early ’08.  Yes, we miss him dearly.  But, you’ve embraced your friends at the Jefferson as well as your group of wonderful Japanese friends.  I love to have dinner with you and your cast of friends and characters at the Jefferson.  We are blessed to be part of the Jefferson community.

As you know, I go to Japan every year … and I always go to our family cemetery to pay respects to the Tobari and Matsumoto families.  I pray to Obachama and I tell her how proud I am of you … and I promise I will continue to do all I can to make sure that you are 100% taken care of.

I am looking forward to our family reunion with Dad’s side of the family later this month.  All of the cousins and their kids love their Aunt Kuni.  And, I know they’ll greatly appreciate the creative gifts that you make for them.

Thank you for being the shining light in my life.  Your selflessness and appreciation of others has been passed on to me.  I’m sure that’s one of the reasons I’m so heavily involved in helping others.  In this blog, I’ve highlighted a few of the reasons that I’m proud of you.  But, in reality, I’ve always been proud of you … not just for these reasons … but for being a loving and wonderful Mom all of these years.  Happy Mother’s Day.  I love you.